Monday, February 10, 2014

Situational Awareness

I was walking with Denise one night and noticed two young men a couple of blocks behind us. Denise and I stopped for a few minutes, and then started walking again. I casually glanced behind and saw that the two men were still there…maintaining their distance. We continued walking and I told Denise to walk a little faster. They started walking faster. We crossed the street. They crossed the street. We were leaving the well lit part of the street and about to enter a several block area with no streetlights. The guys closed the distance just a little. 

What do you think was happening? I agree with you. It seemed pretty obvious that we were about to be mugged. So, without warning, we suddenly crossed the street and jumped in a taxi going the other way. I nodded my head and smiled at the guys as we passed them.

That is something that we have ingrained in our kids. We tell it to all the mission teams that come down. It is called situational awareness. We live in a city where there is a lot of crime. It is almost all nonviolent, however theft is the norm. On four different occasions we have been robbed (the teens) by knifepoint. Crime happens. The way to avoid being a victim is to be aware of your surroundings. Are things kosher? Is someone following you? When you crossed the street…did they? What do you feel like? Is the area well lit? Are there plenty of other people around.

We teach the kids to avoid areas where crime is more likely to occur, and to keep an eye on their surroundings. Situational Awareness. (SA)

I have noticed something. SA is pretty easy to do when I am thinking about me and any threats to me. 

I have a question for you. How good is your SA when it comes to noticing the hurts, needs, doubts, fears, or desires of others? How often do you pick up on someone else’s depression or loneliness? Do you recognize regret or sorrow in another person?

It seems to me that SA is something that should be taught and practiced in our churches, our workplaces and our homes. Not looking for threats, but looking for ways to bless others. What if we asked someone “How are you?” and really wanted to know? How would people respond to us…and then more importantly to the love of Christ if we noticed their lives (not just their presence—not the same thing) and then took an interest in them?

Situational Awareness….or as the Bible calls it, “Love one another”. Lets practice it.

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